I’m going to start my character analysis / discussion by talking about Jamie, from The House of the Spirits (THTS). He was one of my favorite supporting characters of the novel, and a smaller task than looking at Clara, or Alba right away.
Jamie is the son of Clara and Esteban. He is the younger brother of Blanca, and the twin of Nicolás. As Jamie grew older, he was sent with his brother to an English preparatory school. He then went to medical school, and became a doctor who mostly served the poor. Jamie was not very close with his brother Nicolás or his sister Blanca, or his parents (Clara / Esteban). He was very close with Alba, Blanca’s daughter, and slightly jealous of her romantic companions (Miguel).
Jamie developed a very big sense of self-sacrifice. He would do anything, for anyone who he felt needed it. As a young man, he was in love with Amanda (at first Nicolás’ lover), however she left. When they met again, she was in love with him and he was not, though he was too kind to shun her. As he became older, he became close friends with The President, which ultimately led to his death. He was killed during the military coup, quite brutally.
Jamie embodies the idiom, “give someone the shirt off one’s back.” He will literally take off his clothes to give to another person in need. This idiom has a biblical connotation (Sweet Revenge, (Matthew 5:38-42, Romans 12:17-21)), which is interesting because Jamie, as a character, despises religion. When Alba joked about her propensity to become a nun, he was very, very against it.
He is a very selfless human being, who did everything to help the people of the nation come out of poverty, but there was simply too much to be done. As a character, Jamie does a good job in embodying the helplessness people in such a state of poverty feel. He is often overwhelmed by his work, but that does not stop him from trying. Additionally his senseless death exemplifies how the government of this country killed the ones who are trying to save it. Jamie, the embodiment of good, was murdered by the same government that was suppose to “help.”
Jamie loves Amanda as a young adult, yet when he gets older, he does not feel the same way. Though he tries to distance himself, he can’t bring himself to hurt her, thus is complacent in their relationship. Jamie wants to love her again. Even in matters of the heart, Jamie is completely selfless, and sees Amanda as an individual worth his love.
Physically, Jamie is also quite large. He was described as larger than Nicolás and use to defend him in fights that happened in school. This contrast, between his kind personality and his strong physicality, creates an interesting juxtaposition. It gives me Of Mice and Men vibes, because even though Jamie is quite intelligent, he is too kind to ever use his immense physical strength anymore.
I found Jamie’s death the most shattering. It was a great juxtaposition, and a great show of the terrible things that Latin America does to itself. The violent regime changes that hurt its own people and its own country. RIP Jamie!